If the white coat is a scientist’s mask and cape, then the perfect pair of safety glasses is a scientist’s X-ray vision. Without safety glasses, a scientist is just some charlatan posing as a scientist to impress their new girlfriend/boyfriend/mom.

Any scientist worth their Science knows that safety glasses aren’t a cookie-cutter, standard-issue item. The perfect safety glasses for a welder aren’t necessarily the right ones for a woodworker or a sanitation worker or a scientist.

That said, all safety glasses have a few fundamental things in common:
  1. The lenses should be stronger than those used for regular glasses. Lenses made of impact-resistant plastic polycarbonate are a good choice. 
  2. The frames should be stronger than regular glasses and are often heat resistant and designed to prevent that thing in the incubator from pushing the lenses into your eyes. 
  3. The safety glasses should fit your head. The definition of “fit” will vary depending on how hardcore and dangerous your science is but, generally speaking, the temples should fit comfortably over your ears and the frames should fit closely against your face. 
As you embark on your quest for the perfect safety glasses, one of the first things you’ll notice is that there are an overwhelming number of choices. Don’t panic, we did a bunch of that icky leg work for you and short-listed the following excellent options.

Safety On A Shoestring

It’s not easy being a budding young scientist. You’re likely still living with roommates and enduring bowl after bowl of nourishing instant noodles. Don’t worry, that research grant will come through and the resulting paper will be published in your country’s leading scientific journal. You’d best make sure that you have eyes to see it.

Echo Series Troop Visitor Specs
Retail Price: $1.95 to $2.30 each, but you can knock that price right down if you buy in bulk. 

Although these are technically “visitor specs,” they are totally good enough to protect you from your own Science. These safety glasses feature a one-piece, wraparound design with adjustable temples and an integral brow bridge offering uniform strength and a wide field of vision. Even better: you can wear these bad boys over your regular prescription glasses, so there’s no need to shell out extra cash for special lenses. That means you can splurge on KD tonight, hooray! 

Safety On A Slightly Longer Shoestring

Well, that grant came through and you’ve been published – congratulations! However, you know what this means: you’ll need to upgrade those Echo Series Visitor Specs to something that’s going to look more respectable in all those glossy magazine photos you’re suddenly being asked to pose for. 

3M Maxim Safety Glasses
Retail Price: $9.60 to $12.80 each, with slightly less impressive discounts for bulk orders.

Ahh, now we’re talking. These safety glasses, brought to you by the people who make tape and post-it notes, are apparently “sleek, uniquely styled, and unlike anything else on the market today.”

The lenses are prescription-quality which means that you no longer need to wear glasses over your glasses – you can just have these puppies made to whatever prescription you require. They weigh less than an ounce, feature a soft and comfy browguard, and the nosebridge is adjustable for larger-nosed scientists. As an added bonus, they feature a patented, three-position pantoscopic lens angle adjustment, which I assume is a good thing. 

Safety For Your Vagina

Okay, that’s not an entirely accurate description but I’m sure looking forward to seeing how much it skews our Google Analytics data. Female scientists need safety glasses too, as do the girlfriends of male scientists (and the girlfriends of female scientists, for that matter).  

Sperian W200 Series Safety Glasses
Retail Price: $3.70 to $5.90 each, with bulk order discounts if you’re planning on hosting a girl’s night at the lab.

These safety glasses are specifically designed to fit the apparently smaller heads of the fairer sex (go Google Analytics!) through a design that makes them narrower across the front with a shorter temple and nosepiece. Just think – having a better fit means that you’re less likely to lose them as you peer into a cadaver, how awesome would that be? For the extra girly-girls, the frames also come in dusty rose. 

Safety For The Maverick Scientist 

You’re a loose cannon, man. I don’t even want you around the lab. You don’t follow the rules–you don’t even know what the rules are–and I think one of these days you’re gonna kill someone. Maybe yourself. Oh, who am I kidding? I love you, rebel scientist! I love your devil-may-care attitude about procedure, I love your steely squint, I love your dissonant theme music, I feel free and young and crazy whenever I’m with you. Never grow up. 

Smith & Wesson Magnum Series Safety Glasses
Retail Price: $7.10 to $14.20 each, with fairly impressive bulk discounts.

From Smith & Wesson, purveyors of quality firearms since 1852, comes the Magnum Series, suitable for the gun range or the lab or the gun range that is also a lab for some reason.

Firing a Sigma semi-automatic into the head of the alien-donkey hybrid you created because you just didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought? Smashing up the last case of antidote because you kind of want the Death Starker scorpions to sting you death? Mixing bleach with ammonia because you’re just really bored? You’re going to want glasses that reflect your dangerous lifestyle. Shatter-resistent lenses stand up to the biggest temper tantrums, drunkenest stumbling down the stairs, and deadliest driving on the wrong side of the road so you can just feel… God… anything… 

Safety For Poop Scientists

Gotta look at some poop? Like, way super closely? Let’s face it, we can’t all be swishypants, lah-di-dah scientists studying how to make a really great cup of tea or the effects of foie gras on Chopin aficionados. Some scientists have to look at poo, and squish around in the poo, because you really need to feel it and hold it and scrutinize it and smell it to totally get where it lives. Nuclear fission is all very well, but everyone shits, so it’s important that we keep pushing the boundaries of feces research. It’s ginger peachy that you’ve decided to make it your life’s work. Really.

AOSafety Fectoggle Safety Glasses
Retail Price:$15.30 each with tiered discounts depending on how many you want to order.

The portmanteau of feces-rectum-goggle says it all: these are safety glasses for people who need to have poop mere millimetres from their faces. You can get up close and personal with perfect confidence using AOSafety’s Fectgoggles, with their soft foam flanges to keep out pesky fine particulates, and a superior lens coating that resists that inevitable steaming. You’re going to look at excrement in a whole new way!

We hope that these finds have inspired you to tirelessly search for safety glasses that suit your scientific personality. There’s truly something for everyone out there, even those wacko poo scientists. Wait, are they still here?